(From Lognet 91/4. Used with the permission of The Loglan Institute, Inc.)

Lo Lerci (Letters)

Letters policy: Unless otherwise stated, letters sent to The Institute, JCB, or any editor will be considered as offered for publication. But it would be good if the writer explicitly offers. We reserve the right to edit letters, mostly just to drop material that has to do with ordering books, etc. Sometimes a given correspondent will have several letters in the hopper, so to speak, and we will combine them into one purely for the sake of clarity.  We’d be most grateful if you’d enclose a soft copy of your letter on a disk. We can handle most word-processors and having your letters on disk will save us a lot of typing.—Tisra


Dear JCB,

I was intrigued to find that, although I had sent in two different drafts of Lo Logla Plipursei, what got published [in LN91/3:12] was slightly different from both of  them. On the whole, I think it was slightly better than both of them. I did  find one mistake in the published version, however. [In the line]


Lia le bilgra snedua ja fu madzo le bilgro djula


madzo  =' makes..out of..'  K-FB (or S-FB?); [whence] fu madzo  = 'is [a material] made into..by..'. Therefore [as it stands the line means] 'Like the beautiful necklace which is made into the finest jewels.' [What Poet Jennings wanted to say, as you will see on page 17 of this issue, is 'Like a wonderful necklace made of the finest jewels.'—JCB]

You probably want to replace fu madzo with nu madzo zui...  or nu madzo beu...  or  even nu madzo ba [le bilgro djula] to mean “is made of the finest jewels”. [Oops — I guess the  editor wasn’t careful enough —Tisra][It's hard to trace where this error first occurred...probably with RAM or me.—JCB] 

A few more comments:

Bilgro = 'beautiful[ly]-big' is supposed to mean “finest”? These jewels are big in  a beautiful way? How materialistic! I would prefer grobii, to be beautiful in  a big way. [We blew it. 'Fine' should have been 'beautifully-grand' or bilgra.—JCB]

Bilgra = 'beautiful[ly]-great' was supposed to mean 'wonderful'. This is better  than 'beyond natural' = zvonaa, the metaphor in L4 ’75. I thought of another  possibility. A word for 'wonder at' is 'dream-look' or revri bleka or reible. I want a thing that causes wonder: revri bleka ckozu or revblecko meaning 'causes wonder in../is wonderful to..'. [A pleasant word. Do send it in.—JCB] 

I have noticed in this and other translations that lepo/lopo are used a lot more than I would have supposed. I would have left the po out of lepo takrulsei cirna, for example. [Compare the two forms:]


lepo takrulsei cirna =

 the-event-of something doing grammar learning


le takrulsei cirna =

an-instance-of something doing grammar learning


Granted that there is a subtle shade of meaning here, but is there an important difference? Is one of them clearly wrong in this context? [Yes; le takrulseri cirna is wrong, because what it means is simply 'the grammar learner'. This is not what is "easy" for you, I'm betting.—JCB] I have  read that Loglan is “time-free” (L1 4th ed. pg 117) but is English really hampering me by being that “time-full”? [Could we be seeing the Whorfian  process in action here? You are beginning to see the language in a particular  manner that raises fundamental questions about concepts and representations ... concepts not hitherto raised in your use of English! —Tisra] 

.... I want to talk about place tags. I had expected that when I got the draft of the dictionary I would have enough “approved” examples so that I could  figure out how they are assigned. Alas, the dictionary has only 25 words with  tags listed and I have doubts about those. (bamfoa: B-CC? Tags must all be  different.) L1 talks a lot about donsu, K-BN, but that is an easy case.  Someone must have studied it in detail or you wouldn’t know which place tags you need. Did da write something down? Or is it intended just to be a quasi- arbitrary way for logli to talk about what they say? [The case tag project has a long history that needs to be told some day. But right now, you'll be pleased to know, a case-tagger's handbook is in preparation. It will go first to editors like yourself working on the new dictionary, but it will also be made available to logli at large.—JCB] 

Here are some examples to show why I am so confused.

Consider ckozu: '..causes..under conditions..'. My first instinct is that some “Actor, Agent, Doer” named X is doing the causing and produces an effect  Y, giving tags K-PN. Then I look at the table in L1 and I find the word “causes” under the tag sau and “effects” under veu, giving tags S-VN. Some  part of me “wants” to keep S and V out of the first place, making them second class tags, perhaps modeling them on prepositional phrases.  Matma '..is the mother of.. by..'. I think that being a mother is a property.  The possibilities for the other two places make me smile. Is de (a child) a recipient of motherhood (dio), a condition of motherhood (neu), or just a product of motherhood (pou)? Or even a source (sau) of motherhood? Is di (a  father) a condition or a source? Whichever way we decide, people will make jokes based on the other possibilities. My gut reaction is B-PN but I don’t  know that everyone will see it that way. (A child might see it as N-KN.  (smile))  I have kicked around some ideas for solving the problem. I will try to  describe them even though none of them work.

One way out is to have preferred pairings of tags. When in doubt about the  choice for one of the places, choose the one that goes best with the others.  Some possibilities.


sau   dio     source destination

sau     veu     cause   effect

kao     pou     actor   product

goa     mao    greater lesser

beu     foa     parts   wholes


Alas, I haven’t made any pairs that I can think of to crack the examples  above. However, according to the above list, if the child is a product, then  the mother should be an actor. That doesn’t feel right to me.  [How about mother-source, offspring-product, father-actor...and for both predicates in which these folks occur?—JCB] It is also tempting to say that we prefer B, K and G in the first position as  a way of modeling English’s noun, verb and adjective. That solves ckozu but not matma. 

I have also thought along the lines of what questions are being answered. 'Who' is answered by kao. [What about the 'who' in 'Who was carried out?'—JCB] 'What' is answered by beu, foa and pou. “Where” by dio and  sau. [What about vihu for most senses of 'Where?', just as nahu works for most senses of 'When?'?—JCB] It doesn’t help much. Is it, “Who is doing the mothering?” or “What is a mother?” I can also ask the question “What is the cause?” (B-?) which muddies  things up even more. [Try kouhu, moihu, rauhu and soahu for the four senses of 'Why?'—JCB]

Lastly, I uploaded the “What Is Loglan?” file to America Online and started a  folder for discussion thereof. One person had a valid complaint: there is no  Loglan in “What Is Loglan?”! In my answer I described what Vizka lepo la Spat, prano meant and why. [Readers can see what Ditca Jennings did by turning to "Vizka la Spat" in this issue.—Tisra] But the point remains. There should be a short (5 pgs/10K) “introduction” to Loglan so that people have a clearer idea of what they are getting into. ... So far, 12 people have downloaded the  “What is Loglan?” file. Could be worse. 

Tie [Lopu] Nesfiltaa (K-DN?!?)

James Jennings